The Rich and Famous Reveal the Best Advice They Ever Received

Some of the world's most successful people share the tips that made them great. See what you can learn from them.

The Rich and Famous Reveal the Best Advice They Ever Received Photo by Prometheus72 /

What’s the best advice you ever received? Was it when Mom told you to wear sunscreen, or your sister the economics major explained the importance of compound interest?

Perhaps a coach told you never to swing on a 3-0 count. Or maybe you’re partial to the tip from Wallace Shawn’s Vizzini in “The Princess Bride”: Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

It’s helpful to hear more good advice, no matter how old you are. Here’s a sampling of some of the best advice that billionaires, CEOs and other famous faces say they ever received.

Kobe Bryant: Be yourself

Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant was asked about the best advice fellow basketball legend Michael Jordan ever handed down. “To be me,” Bryant said. “(Jordan’s) faced a lot of criticism as well in his career. … He said don’t change who you are, play your game and everybody will adjust to that, but you have to be yourself.”

Mark Cuban: Appreciate your age

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Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, isn’t even 60 yet, but he’s in no hurry to get there. When asked by Men’s Health for the best advice he received, Cuban said, “Today is the youngest you will ever be. Live like it.”

Richard Branson: Have no regrets

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Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, didn’t have to go far from home for his favorite advice. Branson wrote on LinkedIn:

The best advice I ever received? Simple: Have no regrets. Who gave me the advice? Mum’s the word.

If you asked every person in the world who gave them their best advice, it is a safe bet that most would say it was their mother. I am no exception. My mother has taught me many valuable lessons that have helped shape my life. But having no regrets stands out above all others, because it has informed every aspect of my life and every business decision we have ever made.

Martha Stewart: You can do anything

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Lifestyle magnate Martha Stewart came by her self-confidence naturally. Stewart wrote on LinkedIn:

The best advice I’ve ever received was from my father when I was 12 years old and willing to listen. He told me that with my personal characteristics, I could, if I set my mind to it, do anything I chose. This advice instilled in me a great sense of confidence, and despite the fact that sometimes I was a little nervous, I stepped out and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I think it really often is up to the parents to help build confidence in their children. It is a very necessary part of growing up.

T. Boone Pickens: Don’t blame others

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Grandmothers have been around long enough to dispense the best advice. Business magnate T. Boone Pickens wrote on LinkedIn:

If I had to single out one piece of advice that’s guided me through life, most likely it would be from my grandmother, Nellie Molonson. She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail.

Here’s how she put it: “Sonny, I don’t care who you are. Some day you’re going to have to sit on your own bottom.” After more than half a century in the energy business, her advice has proven itself to be spot-on time and time again.

Craig Newmark: Make ’em laugh

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Craig Newmark learned years ago of the importance of humor. The Craigslist founder wrote at LinkedIn:

I’m a nerd, seriously hard-core, and sometimes that translates into being a know-it-all.

People got tired of that while I worked at an IBM branch office in Detroit in the ’80s. My boss told [me] that it had become a real problem with about half my co-workers.

However, he said that my saving grace was my sense of humor. … The advice was to focus on my sense of humor and worry less about being exactly right. For sure, don’t correct people when it matters little.

It took a while to get noticed, but it did get noticed, and some tension got less tense. That felt pretty good.

Barack Obama: Trust yourself, and keep clean

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They may compete hotly at the ballot box, but past and current presidents often develop friendships, knowing only too well that they are members of an exclusive club. President Barack Obama said he received two treasured pieces of advice from his predecessor, George W. Bush. The first was a serious one. Obama told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Bush advised him, “Trust yourself, and know that ultimately, regardless of the day-to-day news cycles and the noise, that the people need their president to succeed regardless of political party.”

But it was the other piece of advice that made more headlines. Obama said Bush told him, “Always use Purell hand sanitizer, because if you don’t, you are going to get a lot of colds, because you shake a lot of hands.”

Donald Trump: Don’t be afraid of mistakes

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President Donald Trump actually has written an entire book on his favorite guidance, “Trump: The Way to the Top: The Best Business Advice I Ever Received.” One of the most popular tips the businessman-turned-politician offers in the book involves decisiveness. Trump writes:

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can always fix them after. What is important is to get the facts and make a decision. Remember that no decision is still a decision.

Another top tip from the now-president involves the many contracts he surely signed in his business days. “If you deal with good people, you won’t need a contract, and if you are dealing with bad people, no contract can protect you,” Trump writes.

Maya Angelou: Forgive

Powerhouse talk-show host Oprah Winfrey asked the late author and poet Maya Angelou about the role of advice in her life. Angelou shared the best advice she had given her own son, telling him that, “in order to get a friend you have to be a friend.”

As for the best advice she herself received? Angelou said it was simple, if difficult to master. “I guess the greatest advice is to forgive,” she told Winfrey. “I don’t anoint it with anything, I just forgive.”

What’s the best advice you ever received? Share it by commenting below or on our Facebook page.


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